It’s difficult to put into words just how deeply I care and believe in Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
I watched one of my closest friend’s eyes lose their light as she starved herself nearly to death. I watched her refuse to take a break from studying all days of the week. Her anxiety told her A’s and perfection were more important than living.
I dropped a toothbrush and slippers off at a psychiatric hospital when another close friend decided life was just too much. I still get chills of relief when I think of how brave she was to take that step, and to think she didn’t go through with the unthinkable.
I mentored countless freshman who confided in me the unbearable stress, loneliness, and unhappiness they were living with.
I watched myself transform from a happy college freshman into an anxious, underweight and depressed sophomore. I did not understand nor have a name for what I felt; the isolation alone is a pain Youth Mental Health First Aid will prevent others from feeling.
Finally, I see myself in my younger sister, and I feel so grateful for the knowledge and skill set I learned from Youth Mental Health First Aid. After the class, I made sure she understood that what she may feel is normal, she is not alone, and there is help.
I know this class will equip individuals with the knowledge to help improve and save young adults lives. But the importance of the class does not stop their; I believe this class will change the way the world looks at mental illness. I believe this class has the power to debunk the hurtful myths surrounding mental illness. I believe this class has the power to de-stigmatize mental illness. And I believe this class has the power to justify and put a name to the pain many are feeling but do not understand.
The class teaches ALGEE, a 5-step mnemonic to help a youth in crisis:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
I wish I had taken this course earlier, for these seemingly simply 5 letters could have helped me be a better friend, sister, daughter, and role model. However, I feel privileged and grateful to know that I can help others in the future.
Contact Tri-County Health Network at 970-708-7096 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to sign up for a Youth Mental Health First Aid training or schedule a class for your business or organization.